Lake Geneva Badger’s Hensler Wisconsin AP high school football coach of the year #Lake #Geneva #Badgers #Hensler #Wisconsin #high #school #football #coach #year

Matt Hensler politely requested that the focus of this story not center on the events of Nov. 3, when he was rushed from Kettle Moraine High School in an ambulance in the fourth quarter of a state quarterfinal showdown.

Instead, Hensler said, he hoped the focus would be on his Lake Geneva Badger team edging previously unbeaten Waunakee 34-33 for the WIAA Division 2 championship Nov. 17 at Camp Randall Stadium. There’s also the angle of how he joined his father, Keith, as the only father and son to be named the Associated Press Coach of the Year in Wisconsin.

Matt Hensler matched his father’s accomplishment from 2004 at Mukwonago when he was unanimously voted the state’s Coach of the Year. The younger Hensler, who turns 51 on Dec. 21, led the Badgers to a 14-0 record with players who did not get much recognition on All-State teams beyond quarterback-defensive back J.P. Doyle.

But Hensler insists his players deserved more recognition. He also argues that he deserves less.

“That kind of stuff is always hard because you’re talking about really the greatest team sport there is,” he said. “When you’re handing out individual awards, that’s tough – especially as a coach because any success you have is totally dependent on the kids and so dependent on our staff. Our staff is as good as it gets, too.”

The same could be said of Hensler, who has a 131-51 record and eight Southern Lakes Conference championships since taking over Badger’s program in 2007. Furthermore, there is likely no one who has been named The Associated Press Coach of the Year in Wisconsin who has a story that compares with what Hensler endured.

It was during Badger’s 28-7 quarterfinal victory over Kettle Moraine on Nov. 3 when Hensler felt chest pains, “and every heart attack sign you have ever read about,” he said. Hensler was rushed to ProHealth Care Hospital in Waukesha just as the Badgers scored their final touchdown of the game. He underwent an angioplasty procedure that night and remarkably was back at practice the following Tuesday.

But, Hensler concedes, the outcome easily could have been far different.

“Our trainer was amazing about the whole process,” he said. “She kind of took control right away. If it was going to happen, I suppose it was best at a football game with all the medical personnel there. I got pretty lucky in that respect.

“And going over to ProHealth, they were phenomenal. My heart anatomy is a little different and it was quite a difficult task getting in there to do their procedure. I was fortunate that the guy who was on call that night is a world-renowned heart doctor and he just happened to be on call. He’s usually out in New York and he just happened to be there.”

Remarkably. Hensler was in the booth calling plays in Oconomowoc for Badger’s 28-6 semifinal victory over Sun Prairie East on Nov. 10. One week later, he was on the sideline when the Badgers won the first state championship in the program’s history.

After such a frightening incident, can Hensler see himself returning as Badger’s coach next season?

“I’m not smart enough to know how to do two things, so I’ll just stay with this one,” Hensler joked.

Burlington coach Eric Sulik will be among those welcoming his return.

“Matt Hensler has been a great ambassador for our conference and a great ambassador for the WFCA (Wisconsin Football Coaches Association),” Sulik said. “They do things the right way at Badger. And he’s a personable, professional guy who is always willing to help. He’s coaching for the right reasons.”

Also considered for the award were Aquinas’ Tom Lee, Lodi’s Dave Puls, Marquette’s Keith Klestinski, Grafton’s Jim Norris, Edgar’s Jerry Sinz, Stratford’s Jason Tubbs, Rice Lake’s Dan Hill and Waunakee’s Pat Rice.

#Lake #Geneva #Badgers #Hensler #Wisconsin #high #school #football #coach #year

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